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Temporal Subjectivities and “Locating Africa” in Postcolonial Cinema

October 24, 2011 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Portrait image of Amy Powell standing in front of a white wall wearing a red hat, large yellow earrings, and a black shirt

Monday Seminar:

Amy Powell

Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellow (2011-2012)

Art History, UW-Madison


Engagement with Africa as a space or place is not the only way that contemporary artists and filmmakers critically interpret the condition of living in the wake of colonialism. Artworks employ time-based techniques (e.g. multiple-channel installation, simultaneity, duration, synchronization) to negotiate the temporalizing effects of modernism, the modern and the contemporary, the colonial and the postcolonial, often in relation to subjectivity and representation. This seminar will present two films that inhabit postcoloniality as a temporal condition full of unexpected identifications and intersubjective positions: Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s Where Is Where? (2009) and Zarina Bhimji’s Waiting (2007). Drawing out the temporal and cinematic possibilities for relational subjectivities from a text close to both films – Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks (1952) – I demonstrate the significant ways that Ahtila and Bhimji engage time to reveal stakes that push beyond the categorization of time in “time-based media” as simply that which passes while we watch.


Amy L. Powell, IRH Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellow, is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research encompasses modern and contemporary art in global frameworks, particularly modern and contemporary African art and photography, African cinema, critical theory focusing on postcolonial theory and contemporary theories of representation, new media and subjectivity, transnational feminist art, the history and theory of photography, and the history and theory of museums and curatorial studies. Her essay, “Phantom Projections, Creole Cinema: Time-Images and Isaac Julien’s Fantôme Afrique” appeared in the 2009 issue of the Chicago Art Journal, and she has published exhibition and book reviews in African Arts and Invisible Culture. Her most recent co-curated exhibition, “New Media at the Charles Allis,” appeared at the Charles Allis Art Museum from June 2-September 15, 2010 in Milwaukee, WI. She is a 2011-2012 UW-Madison Chancellor’s Fellow and held a 2010-2011 Smithsonian Predoctoral Fellowship at the National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC.


October 24, 2011
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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University Club, Room 212
432 East Campus Mall
Madison, Wisconsin 53703 United States